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  • Author or Editor: Hanjo Berressem x
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In: Venus as Muse
In: Venus as Muse

The essay traces one of Pynchon’s many mathematical references in Against the Day. The mathematical contexts are linear algebra and vector geometry, the specific reference is the term eigenvalue, an alloy of the German ‘eigen’ and the English ‘value.’ Pynchon uses it in V. in reference to ‘psychodontist’ Dudley Eigenvalue and his feeling of the loss of the continuity of history. In Against the Day, the reference is much more extended. In fact, it incorporates a fictional conversation about eigenvalues between Yashmeen Harcourt and David Hilbert, the German mathematician who originally coined the term in 1904. In that conversation, eigenvalues are said to function as the “spine of reality.” Along the term eigenvalue, as well as a number of other ‘eigen’ concepts, such as eigenvector, eigenfrequency and eigenorganization, the essay delineates Pynchon’s notion of a subject that is defined as a bundle of habits and frequencies—or, in Pynchon’s terms, of ‘vibes’—that moves in a world defined as an infinitely complex and dynamic vector-space.

In: Against the Grain
In: Kinematographische Räume
In: Name, Ding
In: Display und Dispositiv
In: Medienbewegungen
In: The Abject of Desire
In: The Abject of Desire
In: Space in America